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Indiana and Wisconsin Ask Supreme Court To Review Challenges to Gay Marriage Bans, Plaintiffs Agree

6a00d8341c730253ef01a73e0b48f0970d-250wiAttorneys General from Indiana and Wisconsin filed petitions with the Supreme Court Tuesday, asking the Court to hear each state’s defense of their respective gay marriage bans that were both struck down by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Notably, the 3 panel judge on the 7th Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of equality and against the bans—the first time such a decision was unanimous. The decision was written by Judge Richard Posner, whose pithy quips garnered media attention after he gutted the anti-equality arguments put forth by Indiana and Wisconsin. Now, the Supreme Court will have a chance to review Posner’s ruling. Chris Geidner from BuzzFeed reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcd57649970b-250wiThe petitions are the sixth and seventh petitions seeking a writ of certiorari, which is the technical way the Supreme Court announces that it is taking a case.

Indiana presents a somewhat different case in practical terms — although it has not, thus far, made a difference in the legal analysis — in that the state has no constitutional ban on such marriages. It only has a state law banning them.

Quickly after the states filed their petitions, and as expected, the plaintiffs responded to the two states’ petitions, similarly urging the Supreme Court to grant the writs of certiorari:

6a00d8341c730253ef01a511ee26c6970c-200wiLambda Legal and the ACLU, representing the couples in the Indiana case, responded to Indiana’s certiorari petition, stating that the same-sex couples they represent “agree that the Court should grant review in this case because the issue is of fundamental importance to [the couples] and the country as a whole.”

The ACLU, representing the couples in the Wisconsin case, responded to Wisconsin’s petition on Tuesday as well.

Among the arguments put forth by both Indiana and Wisconsin, the most absurd assertion may have been that put forth by Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoller who, as Joe.My.God points out, argues,

"The court does not, and cannot, justify the assertion that Indiana’s definition of marriage targets homosexuals. The statue itself makes no mention of sexual orientation, and as the case record in this case amply demonstrates, homosexuals often do marry members of the opposite sex in Indiana.”


Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis

BY ARI EZRA WALDMAN

BerzonA soft-spoken attorney representing Idaho started his state's anti-marriage equality argument by suggesting that allowing gays to marry violates the "bonding right" of children that they will be raised by their biological mothers and fathers. It took Judge Marsha Berzon just 15 seconds to ask her first question: "What is that word you're using before 'right'"? Judge Berzon can hear just fine; it's just that she had never heard anyone make such a ridiculous claim before today. The rest of the hearing followed similarly.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter-appointee and liberal leader of the appellate courts, was joined by Judge Berzon, a sharp-minded progressive appointed by President Clinton, and Judge Robert Gould, another Clinton appointee, in a nearly two-hour long interrogation of attorneys from Idaho and Nevada that may not have been as bombastic as Judge Posner's treatment of attorneys from Wisconsin and Indiana in the Seventh Circuit, a hearing which resulted in a marvelous unanimous victory ("Go figure!"), but was every bit as damaging to the forces opposed to marriage equality.

It also brought marriage equality full circle. Judge Reinhardt was the judge that wrote the first decision from a federal appellate court on marriage equality, affirming District Judge Vaughn Walker's pioneering rejection of California's Prop 8. We all know how that case turned out.

And we know what's happened since: a Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and a long streak of pro-marriage equality decisions from the lower federal courts, including several appellate courts.

Yesterday's hearing reminded us how far we have really come. Some of the arguments and much of the tone were different this time around. The judges' questioning was direct and they expressed a similar, though less visible, frustration with the misdirection and misleading statements from the anti-equality attorneys as Judge Posner. The tone of the hearing suggested that marriage equality supporters are finally out of the closet, following a tidal wave of an emerging consensus of the legitimacy and morality of marriage freedom for all.

A summary and analysis follows AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Ninth Circuit Panel Eviscerates What's Left of Anti-Equality Arguments: A Summary and Analysis" »


Protests Follow Delay In Greece Civil Partnership Battle

Protests in Greece

Protesters gathered outside parliament buildings in Greece last Friday following the government’s decision to delay legislating civil unions for same-sex couples, reports The Huffington Post.

6a00d8341c730253ef01b7c6dc84a9970b-320wiThe delay comes despite a European court ruling that Greece has been discriminating against LGBT people.

Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou said civil partnerships had been left out of anti-racism legislation because further study was needed on how the partnerships would affect tax, social insurance and family law.

Last year, the Council of Europe's Court of Human Rights ordered Greece to pay damages to four gay couples who had taken a discrimination case against the country.

Another 162 gay couples from Greece filed a similar complaint in the international court earlier this year to pressure the government to change the law.

However, same-sex marriage remains a divisive issue in Greece, where several prominent members of the Greek Orthodox Church and members of the ruling conservative party have argued that civil partnerships for same-sex couples would undermine the institution of family.

Tom Koukoulis, one of the plaintiffs who attended the demonstration said that the legal battle is “about the right to ... visit a relative in hospital, to file a joint tax declaration, and all the rest. We do think it is going to happen because we are on the right side of history."


Egyptian Forensic Department Conducts 'Medical Test', Concludes Men Accused Of Inciting Debauchery 'Not Homosexuals': VIDEO

Egypt

Following the arrest of nine men for a 'gay marriage' Internet video, Egypt's Forensic Medicine Authority have found the men are "not homosexuals."

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d06603fb970c-200wiAs forensics spokesman Dr. Hisham Abdel Hamid put it in a surreal-sounding statement to CairoScene, "The men tested negative for homosexuality."

This is not the end for the men — despite the evidence in their favor, their ultimate fate remains unsure. Said Dr. Hamid: "What happens next is up to the judicial process." The men are being charged with "inciting debauchery," and it's difficult to say how these test results may impact the charge — it seems it'd be entirely possible to "incite debauchery" as a heterosexual.

Daily News Egypt reports it's not uncommon for suspected Egyptian homosexuals to undergo medical tests that determine whether they are “habitual” homosexuals — the language used in other cases similar to this one.

The 'wedding video' incident is the latest in a series of crackdowns on homosexuality by the Egyptian government.

Interestingly, Egyptian law does not explicitly forbid homosexuality. However, the recent crackdowns accuse the suspects of “violating the teachings of religion and public morals.”

You can watch what is reportedly the video in question titled "Egypt's first gay marriage", AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Egyptian Forensic Department Conducts 'Medical Test', Concludes Men Accused Of Inciting Debauchery 'Not Homosexuals': VIDEO" »


Ninety-Year Old Gay Couple Wed After 70-Year Relationship

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Here's a story from Iowa that'll bring the misty to your Monday. They've been together for 72 years, but Vivian Boyack (91) and Alice “Nonie” Dubes (90) have only just tied the knot.

On Saturday, the two women were married in a small, intimate ceremony of close friends in Davenport, Iowa's First Christian Church.

Guests included Jerry Yeast, 73, a longtime friend who first met the two women as a teenager doing their yardwork. Yeast assured Quad City Times: “I’ve known these two women all my life, and I can tell you, they are special."

Boyack and Dubes first met in Yale, Iowa — their hometown. In 1947, they moved to Davenport where they live now. Boyack worked as a schoolteacher, and Dubes worked in payroll.

But their small town life hasn't limited the two women from adventure —Boyack and Dubes have traveled extensively, visiting all 50 U.S. states, all the provinces of Canada, and England.

During their wedding ceremony, Rev. Linda Hunsaker acknowledged the couple's longterm commitment, saying: “This is a celebration of something that should have happened a very long time ago.”


Winston-Salem, NC Defies Gay Marriage Ban by Recognizing Married Same-Sex Couples as Spouses

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Winston-Salem is believed to be the first city in North Carolina to defy the state's ban on same-sex marriage and recognize married, same-sex couples with valid out-of-state marriage licenses specifically as "spouses,"

Citing the 4th Circuit's ruling overturning Vriginia's gay marriage ban and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announcing that he would no longer defend the ban in court, Winston-Salem's Human Resources Director Carmen Caruth told gay employees that city benefits would be extended to their spouses and children

Q notes reports:

Winston-Salem currently does not offer domestic partner benefits to unmarried couples. City Council members are expected to discuss a new plan in a Council community development, housing and general government committee meeting on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, legally married couples regardless of gender can enroll their spouses during a special enrollment period ending Oct. 31.

[photo via Wikipedia]


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